Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
I went on a date night for its opening weekend, and we were impressed by the turnout — a mix of families, couples, art enthusiasts and casual passersby — proving the infamous British artist attracts a variety.
Situational awareness: The Art of Banksy is an internationally touring show that has made appearances in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Its North American debut took place in Atlanta in September 2021, followed by a stint in Miami last month. To date, more than 1.2 million people have visited the exhibition globally, per a press release.
What we’re watching: Starting April 6, the exhibit will offer a DIY section, where visitors can spray paint their own T-shirt of hoodie (starting at $30). “Supply chain issues delayed the debut of this feature during the February exhibit opening,” according to a representative of the exhibit.
Here are 5 takeaways from my visit:
The exhibition has more than 155 replicas of the pseudonymous England-based street artist, including prints, photos, sculptures and murals. It also features some certified originals.
Banksy’s “Happy Shopper” statue was a main feature in his 2009 show ‘Banksy versus Bristol Museum.’ Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Banksy, notorious for his secret identity and political activism, doesn’t charge viewers to enjoy his art. Exhibit curator, Guillermo Quintana, tells Axios he welcomes criticism as long as it’s informed.
Of note: On his website, a section titled “PRODUCT RECALL,” lists exhibitions around the world that showcase his art without his approval. This exhibit is mentioned on that page.
For every item sold, $2 goes toward the Louise Michel organization, a nonprofit started by Banksy aimed at rescuing refugees stranded at sea.
Leading up to the gift shop, there’s a room that plays a video of Louise Michel’s rescue efforts, which Banksy posted on his Instagram. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Quintana says he purposefully puts thought-provoking pieces next to each other, as “intellectual jokes.” He pointed this out in a room with a portrait of Mother Teresa on one wall and portraits of Kate Moss on the other. They’re intended to juxtapose one other and represent how “millennials think versus how the older generation thinks.”
The Kate Moss collection by Banksy is a nod to Andy Warhol’s iconic Marilyn series. Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
My favorite room was filled with mirrors, perfect for a selfie. Quintana told me that’s not the point of the exhibit, however.
Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
During the COVID lockdown in 2020, Banksy posted a series of pictures on his Instagram of what seems to be his bathroom. The caption read: “My wife hates it when I work from home.” Photo: Laura Barrero/Axios
Pro tip: If you haven’t been to the AvidXchange Music Factory before, you might have a hard time finding the venue. Park on the street for free, or pay for parking across the street.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Sutherland
Editor’s note: This story has been clarified to show that an Observer story explored online criticism, but didn’t specifically cite local artists’ criticism.